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Regina man charged with endangering lives after 26 gas meters sabotaged

A man in Regina is facing 31 charges after allegedly causing gas leaks at 26 natural gas meters throughout downtown over the weekend.

The alleged incidents began at around 11 p.m. on Sept. 23 according to a Regina Police Service (RPS) news release.

Police were contacted by the Regina Fire and Protective Services (RFPS) about a potential gas leak at a business on the 1900 block of Victoria Avenue.

According to police, a caller heard the sound of a high pressure release and saw a man running from a gas meter in the area.

Police provided traffic control in the area while the leak was investigated and repaired.

Seven minutes later, an employee of a business on the 2100 block of Victoria Avenue also called police to report the smell of natural gas in the area.

Shortly after the call, police say a damaged gas meter was found on the 2000 block of Cornwall Street.

“Over the next several hours, multiple reports of gas leaks at different meters were received. Police and repair crews attended,” the RPS news release said.

At around 7:40 a.m. the following day, police responded to the area of the 1800 block of Scarth Street for another report of a man cutting gas lines.

The incident was reported by a fire inspector who was at the scene of a blaze at the Gordon Block building on 12th Avenue.

The man allegedly threatened the fire inspector with a bladed weapon when he stopped to investigate and fled the scene.

Police got another call shortly after, saying a man was cutting gas lines in the area.

When the caller tried to stop the man, police say he was also threatened with a bladed weapon.

Police found and arrested the 39-year-old suspect at 7:45 a.m.

A bladed weapon was recovered nearby, according to police.

All 26 gas meters involved in the string of incidents have since been repaired.

The man is also suspected in two acts of graffiti in the downtown area. Investigation into the Gordon Block fire is still ongoing, according to RFPS.

The accused faces 25 counts of mischief under $5000, 3 counts of mischief over $5,000, one count of endangering public lives and two counts of assault with a weapon.

He made his first appearance in provincial court in Regina on Monday.

In a statement to CTV News, SaskEnergy outlined the risks of tampering with natural gas meters.

“Gas meters are highly specialized equipment and deliberate tampering pose a dangerous risk with the release of high-pressured gas,” the statement read.

“Gas meters are very safe and are built to withstand extremes in weather. However, in the unlikelihood that something malfunctions, we have safety measures to ensure that natural gas leaks do not go undetected.”

One such measure is the addition of “mercaptan” an odorant that smells like rotten eggs, sewer or skunk. Mercaptan is added to natural gas to make it easier to detect.

SaskEnergy has staff available to respond to emergencies 24 hours a day. If residents smell or suspect a gas leak – it’s important to call 1-888-700-0427 immediately. Top Stories

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